Brookfield Police Department is in transition with the recent retirement of two command-staff officers and efforts to replace them.
Cpl. Ron Mann retired in March and has been replaced by Patrolman Jonathan Setser, who had started as a reserve officer with the department in February and had worked a short time as a part-time officer.
Lt. Pete Gibb’s retirement is pending. He has stopped working, but still is on the payroll as he runs through his vacation time, said Police Chief Dan Faustino.
Aaron Kasiewicz and Cody Dean each have been promoted to sergeant – Dean in an acting role until Gibb’s time is up – with Kasiewicz becoming the department’s second-ranking officer behind the chief. Faustino said he has no plans to name a new lieutenant.
Kasiewicz, the department’s detective who has been with the squad since 2005, heads the detective division, and Dean, who was initially hired in December 2017, the patrol division.
Under the police contract that expired in December, sergeants make $22.20 an hour and patrolmen earn $20.20. The police union and trustees have a tentative agreement on a new contract, but the trustees are holding off on acting on it while they continue to negotiate a contract with the fire department union.
Senior Ofr. Gerald Hockey, who has nearly 18 years with the department, has been named school resource officer and will be assigned to Brookfield schools full-time starting in August. He will attend SRO training in July. Faustino said he chose Hockey based on his strengths, particularly as a communicator and his organizational skills.
“In the conversations I’ve had with him, he is looking forward to that,” Faustino said of Hockey becoming SRO. “He’s been with us for a good amount of time, familiar with the community, and I just think the personality that he has will work well with the school staff and students.”
Counting Gibb and the chief, the department has nine full-time policemen.
Mann, who was the first SRO, has taken a job as security officer at Trumbull County Eastern District Court, replacing John Bizub, who became a full-time Brookfield policeman in November.
Faustino said he hopes to hire a full-time officer to replace Gibb by Aug. 1, preferably from the part-time staff.
The department has three part-time patrolmen, and two reserve officers, who work for free, usually in order to gain the experience they need to get a paid job. One reserve officer is in training with the expectation that he will move to part time on June 1, and a background check is being conducted on a candidate for a part-time position.
Faustino said his current staff is covering all of the available shifts, but he’s always looking for more part-timers, especially with vacation season approaching.
“Trying to find part-time people is a challenge,” he said. “I’ve spoken to some other chiefs and they’re at the point of having to abandon their part-time officers and just concentrate on full time just because of a lack of availability of officers.”
Fewer people are pursuing police work as a career, and it’s becoming harder to find candidates who are able to complete training and pass a background check, Faustino said.
He noted that prior to hiring Setser, “We had one (candidate) that we had looked to hire, actually, made a conditional offer of employment to, that didn’t make it to his hire day. He actually got arrested for domestic (violence) in his hometown.”
Faustino, who is approaching his 30th anniversary with the department, said he does not want to lower his standards just to fill positions.